Atoms for Peace: Amok

5 Dec

I was glum about Radiohead not releasing an album this year… and then I heard Amok.

A supergroup consisting of Radiohead lead singer Thom yorke and producer Nigel Godrich, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, as well as Joey Waronker of Beck and R.E.M. and Mauro Refosco of Forro in the Dark (he has also played extensively with Red Hot Chili Peppers), Atoms for Peace‘s music is very largely the eerie, multi-rhythmic and instrumentally-discordant sounds of Radiohead, featuring some of the twangy bass and guitar lines common to Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Amok is a jammable collection of synth-heavy, ornately-layered tracks, all varnished with Thom Yorke’s distinctive siren song. I love the wide tonal variety of percussive sounds used in this album, which make dancing to multiple beats at once even more fun than it usually is. I feel that what this band constructs, beyond music, is a collection of interesting soundscapes to be imaginatively explored; the synth imitation of birdcalls in Reverse Running being a stunning example of this. What else is interesting about this album is the combination, in songs like Stuck Together Pieces and Judge Jury and Executioner, of very electronic synth and percussive sounds with very organic-sounding instrumental parts on bass and guitar.

I feel Radiohead’s sound dominates Amok, however, to the point that the album presents as a bunch of Radiohead songs with slightly different instrumentalists. Furthermore, whilst this album is a glorious collection of tight and intricate tracks, I feel it lacks the conceptual cohesion of an album from a more established band.

Amok’s almost-but-not-quite-Radiohead sound is a delicious fix for the craving Radiohead fan, yet would be disappointing if presented as an actual Radiohead album. Nonetheless, this is certainly an exciting starting point for Atoms for Peace.

Atoms for Peace


One Response to “Atoms for Peace: Amok”


  1. Thom Yorke: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes | Sound & Fury - 11 December 2014

    […] comparatively minimal instrumental* and bold percussion make it more accessible and cohesive than Amok (Atoms for Peace; 2013) or The King of Limbs (Radiohead; 2011). Its melodies carry the familiar […]

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